2 Timothy 4

This devotional is written by Trissie Coleshaw.

2 Timothy 4

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather round them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Personal remarks
9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.

14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

16 At my first defence, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Final greetings
19 Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus ill in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.


The final chapter of the second letter to Timothy has the humbling and moving significance within Scripture of being likely the last written document composed by Paul before his death. Here, Paul exhorts his Ephesian protégé to continue the pioneering work of ministry and to faithfully spread the good news. He calls on him in the same way that all those who are saved have been called—to do the work of an evangelist, and to do so with patience and compassion for those caught up in the dramas of the world, with all its confusions, distractions and powerful desires.

The picture Paul paints from his prison cell in Rome of ministry and of working with people is beautifully summed up when he speaks of having ‘fought the good fight’. Perhaps we can all relate to Paul in the feeling that the faithful life of loving our neighbours can sometimes be a bit of an uphill battle, especially when our loving, thoughtful deeds have been rejected. So, Paul provides Timothy with a stark reality check: that most people will almost certainly not want to hear the message he was sent to share. They will prefer to stay within their own filter bubbles, find leaders who affirm their confirmation biases, and will choose the comfort of the fictional and familiar over the disruptive, radical truth of God's love and self-sacrifice to deliver us from evil. Nevertheless, his instruction to Timothy on how to keep the gospel alive in a hostile world is simple: no matter what the world does, no what adversities we face, and no matter what relationships come, go or fail just as they did for Paul, we must keep showing up for others and never ever stop pointing them in the direction of God’s unfailing, eternal and indiscriminate love.

If this sounds like a tough commission or a tall order, then let that serve as a reminder of the awesomeness of our God that He can hold all of it in His hands so effortlessly; that He can love each of us so intimately and completely, no matter who we are and what we’ve done. Take Paul for example: the man whose Christian journey began writhing blind in the dirt, floored on the road to Damascus by a holy light, the light of Christ ripping through the rageful darkness encasing his heart. The man who by the end of his life had become the preeminent evangelist of the same Christ whose followers he used to persecute, and the figurehead for Christian communities right across the ancient Mediterranean world. Paul’s story is a testimony to just how deeply a soul can be saved, of just how redemptive are God’s loving arms when we have the courage to stop struggling against His embrace.

Today, as you navigate your relationships and the complexities of the times we live in, remember Paul, and take strength from his example of steadfast love and determination under fire, and the grace accorded to him by God in full knowledge of his imperfections. Give thanks and remember that perfection is not within your remit any more than it was within Paul's – it is within God’s remit alone. What is required of us is that we keep striving to be the most loving version of ourselves as God would have us be, but we do not have to be perfect in order for God to love and trust us with a part in His plan. That’s how generous He is, that's how forgiving He is, that’s how proud of you He is, that's how shamelessly in love He is with you.

No Comments